g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Natural Living
Folklore and Mythology
Distance Learning

All times in EST

Full Schedule
g Folklore and Mythology Site

BellaOnline's Folklore and Mythology Editor


Mauna Kea and its Snow Goddess

Guest Author - Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D.

Although Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches and warm weather, it also hosts one of the largest mountains on Earth – the volcano Mauna Kea, which reaches nearly 34,000 miles from ocean floor to peak. Since only 13,803 miles extend above the waves, it’s not usually thought of as the tallest mountain on earth, but it does in fact extend nearly one thousand miles longer than Mount Everest.

All great mountains have their associated pantheon, and Poli’ahu, one of Hawaii’s four snow kupua or demigods, lives at Mauna Kea. This mountain is high enough that, even in these tropical climes, snow can drop in the winter months, and Poli’ahu’s beautiful white cloak, made of tree bark, represents one aspect of frozen water (the others being the mountain mist, springs, and underground resevoirs.) In true Hawaiian form, Poli’ahu loves to interact with her environment, shredding down the mountain on her sled – more recently, perhaps even on a snowboard!

A story is told of a day when a stranger appeared on Mauna Kea and asked to race Poli’ahu. The course began, and the competition was fierce, but Poli’ahu managed to defend her standing as the fastest on the mountain. Furious at having lost, the stranger unveiled herself – she was Pele, the goddess of fire, herself! Intent on revenge for her perceived humiliation at having lost, Pele ripped up the ground, causing fire and lava to cascade around the island. Poli’ahu fought back in her cool fashion, tamping down the fire with her cloak and turning the earth black in the process. To this day, she and Pele remain enemies, sometimes coming to blows again – their war has divided the geography of the island of Hawai’i. The southern part of the island belongs of Pele, and is covered with lava rocks and vents from below the earth, while the northern part is cooler, mistier, and greener from its association with Poli’ahu.

Because of its isolation and height, Mauna Kea is ideal territory for astronomy, but those who consider the mountain sacred have struggled to keep it in its natural state for Poli’ahu and her ilk. When NASA wanted to build a telescope at the very top of the mountain, its environmental impact study was challenged by Mauna Kea’s defenders. In the fracas, a sacred altar, or ahu lele, was anonymously desecrated. Volunteers braved Poli’ahu’s wrath (stinging snow and wind) to in order to rebuild, and continued their fight to challenge attempts to build scientific campuses here and atop Haleakala on the neighboring island of Maui. Those wanting to keep the mountain in its natural state eventually won when NASA ultimately withdrew its proposal and all other plans to build telescopes atop the mountains were abandoned. Those who follow the old ways must continue their vigilance in order to protect this sacred land and divine beings, like Poli’ahu, who call Mauna Kea home.
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Mauna+Kea+and+its+Snow+Goddess to Twitter Add Mauna+Kea+and+its+Snow+Goddess to Facebook Add Mauna+Kea+and+its+Snow+Goddess to MySpace Add Mauna+Kea+and+its+Snow+Goddess to Digg Mauna+Kea+and+its+Snow+Goddess Add Mauna+Kea+and+its+Snow+Goddess to Yahoo My Web Add Mauna+Kea+and+its+Snow+Goddess to Google Bookmarks Add Mauna+Kea+and+its+Snow+Goddess to Stumbleupon Add Mauna+Kea+and+its+Snow+Goddess to Reddit

RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Folklore and Mythology Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2018 by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


g features
The Marriage of Rhiannon

The Easter Bunny

The Legend of the San Nicholas Woman

Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Note: BellaOnline uses cookies to help provide a consistent user experience. Our advertisers may use cookies to help customize ads. Please contact us with any question about our cookie use.

Summertime Foods
Corn on the Cob
Burgers on the Grill
Apple Pie


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2018 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor